what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Nick's Noises

The last post mentioned Nick Hunt’s book recounting his retracing the footsteps – 78 years on - of the famous traveller Paddy Leigh-Fermour. Of course, as the final part of the trilogy had not appeared in 2011/12 when he was doing his walk, he had to guess the path to take after he crossed the Danube into Bulgaria at Vidin. 
He guessed wrongly and failed to identify one of Paddy’s typical deviations (I prefer “tergiversations”) up, after Sofia, to Veliko Tarnovo and Russe - to Bucharest before he resumed his journey, back from Russe to Varna and the Black Sea. There’s a nice Q and A with Hunt here 
I mentioned the blogs he had occasionally posted during his walk – and came across this soundtrack he had made of some of the sounds he encountered.....
My initial feeling was that the rustling grass, gurgling and flowing water sounds and (too many) Germanic and Austrian pub voices were a wee bit pretentious but but it did grow on me as I listened to (variously) church bells, bird songs, pig grunts, lamb bleats, cock crows and, eventually, at 12 mins, Slovak voices (more strident than I remember); then dog barks, religious chants (nationality unclear); what variously sounded like Hungarian “son-et-lumiere”, bad sexual congress and military horse drill; soft Slavic melodies, bird songs and waterfalls; an urgent call to prayer; and the slow burn of a fire.

At 19.20 mins in, we reached a generous stretch of Romanian gypsy music and at 20.20 the sound of tolling church bells; murmuring voices, barks and cicadas….a trotting horse; strange bell sounds; bird chirping; gurgling of a brook; crackling of a fire/typing (?); a church service; an untuned piano; dripping of water; at 26 mins hysterical (Bulgarian?) laughter; cacophonous car klaxons celebrating a wedding; cicadas; bagpipe music, singing and drunken laughing; a snatch of what is more clearly Bulgarian songs; bells; running water; the swell of what is clearly the Black Sea; more bagpipe music; treading of water; at 34.00 transatlantic English pop in a resort; determined steps; the roll of waves, steps in shingle; an autobahn; and finally, at 37.00 the Turkish muezzin chants. More follows……

All of this sounds like a more prosaic version of one of Paddy’s famous lists…………..

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